Out of the 14 players selected for Edinburgh Mavericks Europa Cup squad, 11 of them started playing at university. A further eight members of the club also caught the bug during their student days. The core of the club comes from Edinburgh University but we also feature former korfers from St Andrews University and Lancaster University.
It’s clear that student korfball is vital to the health of all korfball in the United Kingdom and with recent moves from the BSKA to restructure competitions so that more BUCs points are available and increase the exposure of the sport at this level it’s pretty clear that it’s going to continue going from strength to strength.
Yet, university korfball isn’t just about the playing of korfball. It’s where korfball becomes part of someone’s lifestyle. We asked our membership what they REALLY learnt from University korfball and the answers ranged from the profound to the… interesting. Check them out below.
Fern Sinclair was at first amazed at the lengths people went to in order to play university korfball but soon enough she was able to understand,
‘What I learnt from uni korfball: that some people never want to leave korfball, so much so they pretend to be a student when they're not. I knew from that, that this korfball sport must be something special.’
Sarah McKeand was an innocent young farm girl when she arrived at University. Korfball gave her the chance to speak to boys in a social setting for the first time and the rest as they say is history,
‘Korfball taught me how to get hot and sweaty with the opposite sex.’
John Wright gained an appreciation of academia reflecting that years of study are a truly worthwhile way to spend one’s life,
‘I learned that doing a five year degree was worth it just for the extra year of korfball. I also learned how to play korfball at university korfball...’
President Steve Lawrence discovered the joy of telling people what to do as well as the perils of babysitting large groups of adults
‘Being President and Coach was a real headache at times, especially when picking where to eat before a social. However, there’s nothing like seeing a player you recruited and taught the game step up and fulfil their potential and even exceed it.’
Speaking of potential a number of our team learnt during their time that they had what some popular singing competitions might call the X Factor. As Jen Merritt recounts, ‘I learnt that we need to stop and think before we pass out.’
In his time at university Max Wartelle realised that things aren’t always as they seem, especially when it comes to acronyms,
‘I learnt that disguising fitness training as a 5 letter acronym works.’
Nicki Wray used to be a lone wolf but her time at Lancaster University taught her how much more fun it is to run in a pack,
‘University Korfball has taught me that whilst individual success is great (I used to be a pretty decent cross country runner in my youth don’t cha know) there is something even more rewarding about achieving success as a team’
Natasha Lynch didn’t know what she was capable of until she started playing korfball. She learnt (Mainly at the Edinburgh University International Korfball Tournament) that even at her lowest point she was still able to throw, catch and shoot a ball,
‘The only thing I can do well hungover is korfball.’
And we’ll let Cathy Campbell have the last word because I think she sums up the whole thing nicely,
‘It doesn't matter how competitive you get, if you are not enjoying it or it doesn't make you happy, there's no point in doing it. Hence why I always now have a totally idiotic smile on my face when playing- even when elbowing someone in the face to get the ball.’
I guess that’s why we’re all still playing and why we’re all so excited about the Europa Cup. Just be careful for Cathy’s elbows.